Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 4th, 2011

Michael Cherney

Physics Department
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Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (in the US)
[213] 1 John 4:7-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8
Mark 6:34-44

Today’s readings could take one in many directions. The first reading suggests the idea of love flowing from God, The Psalm brings the idea of a God worthy of adoration in this season of Epiphany, and the Gospel shows the idea of God as miracle worker and source of sustenance. All of these offer rich pathways. What caught my mind and heart was the beginning of the Gospel reading.

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:35)

In this last week I have experienced more people sharing their spiritual need than I have at any other time. This might be the result of the holidays. We have the time to step back from work and reflect, but my sense is that is not how we use our holiday time. My thought is this feeling of need might be a sign of what the holidays have become. Rather than an occasion for spiritual strengthening, our culture has given a very different meaning to this season. This often becomes a time that creates great expectations and then leaves us tired and unfulfilled.

The preceding verses in Mark’s Gospel tell of the execution of John the Baptist. Jesus steps in to fill a spiritual void for the people. In these last weeks I wonder if our way of life has tended to put to death the message of Advent. We spent our time shopping, planning events and leaving a void. (In academic circles, this was the end of the semester with its papers and exams.) The demands that we created for our time and energy continued through Christmas and New Years Day. I can see the loving God of today’s Gospel looking at us with pity, moving us to a less crowded place and getting us to sit down and take in what He has to offer just as He did with the multitude in the Gospel.

Dear Lord,
Forgive us for the times that we became caught up in our activities.
Help us to take time and reflect.
Allow us to open ourselves to Your love and Your grace.

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